Join us in welcoming FQT/GSWS Visiting Scholar Shae Frydenlund and learn about her work.
"Labor, whiteness, and spatial privilege in Colorado ski country"
In the United States, the widespread relocation of wealthy remote workers to mountain towns during the COVID-19 pandemic drove real estate prices to record highs and has worsened longtime shortages of affordable housing for many low-wage locals. Yet some white resort workers have had a relatively easy time accessing housing and continue to thrive while others face multiple displacements. What explains these uneven experiences? My analysis begins from the fact that not all white people earning working-class wages live working-class lives, and that uneven experiences of class and whiteness have particular effects within Colorado ski country and beyond. Pairing Marxian approaches to labor and housing with critiques of liberal white privilege theory, I posit the co-production of labor regimes and housing geographies through the lens of spatial privilege – understood as the expression of racialized and gendered labor relations within the built environment. I argue that privileged access to housing is relationally linked to positioning on a spectrum of white labor that is available to capital, not only class status. This research also reveals how spatial privilege is simultaneously materialized and naturalized through neoliberal discourses and housing governance.